Space battles, quantum entanglement, and love triangles with snack dispensers, are just some of problems facing the boys from the Dwarf as they return in a brand new series.
Red Dwarf X, the 10th series of the legendary sci-fi sitcom, reunites the much-loved original cast of Chris Barrie (Rimmer), Craig Charles (Lister), Danny John-Jules (Cat) and Robert Llewellyn (Kryten) for a brand new, full-on, proper series of six episodes recorded in front of a live studio audience, written and directed by Doug Naylor.
Yes! After fans collectively suffered the sort of breathless anticipation Lister gets whenever he's waiting for the curry delivery to come, the Dwarfers are finally back in the red (to shamelessly pilfer an episode title from long, long ago). And while they may be older and wrinklier, they're certainly not wiser. Actually, things haven't changed too much since their exploits in Back to Earth. There's still no Kochanski, for one thing. They're still drifting pointlessly through space. And there are still unexpected bad guys threatening to send them all to silicon hell (in Kryten's case) and normal, bog-standard hell (in everyone else's).
Six episodes of vintage Dwarfian action ensue, featuring one unexpected reunion, a hearty dollop of shocking blasphemy, and sexy time with a vending machine. Oh, it's a goodie all right, but the big question is: can Lister ever catch up with the still AWOL Kochanski? And will Rimmer ever become a space corps captain? Well, if he was alive we'd advise him not to bother holding his breath, but then again the series does see him actually slip into his captain's garb and boss the rest of the Dwarfers around like some kind of goalpost-foreheaded Picard.
It's all to impress his despised brother Howard Rimmer, a fellow hologram and over-achieving goit of the highest order, who crosses paths with the Dwarfers on a derelict ship which Rimmer immediately passes off as his own. It's fair to say it isn't the most emotional of family reunions (the first words to spring to Howard's lips on meeting his brother were "utter" and "twat"), but the two Rimmers do eventually join forces to defeat a demented simulant. Which is sort of sweet.
Lister also has some family stuff to get through as well, having realised that he's been a terrible son… to himself. Lest we forget, Lister's actually his own dad, and he decides to give himself a good talking to and kick his own arse into gear. And that means recording angry pep talks to himself, and then getting so ridiculously sozzled on GELF hooch that he won't remember a word of it when he watches the tape over again later. OK, so it's not the sort of parenting Supernanny would approve of, but it sort of works for Dave.
Moving swiftly on, the Dwarfers find themselves whisked back in time after badly assembling some kind of gene-rejuvenating gizmo (it was flat pack self-assembly, OK?). Dumped on Earth circa Jesus-times, they actually meet Jesus Himself, who has the requisite facial hair and hippy barnet, but with a rather unexpected Geordie accent to boot. Unfortunately, the Dwarfers manage to accidentally scare Jesus off becoming the Messiah, and it all ends up with Lister holding the Son of God in a headlock. But before any religious types send us death threats or start rioting outside our offices, can we just point out that Lister did generously resist punching Jesus in the face, because it would be "like punching Gandhi". Plus, the final twist is that this isn't the actual, proper Jesus at all. So that makes it all right.
After the whole meddling with Christianity thing, you'd think the lads would want to put their feet up. No such luck – pretty soon they're up against a frankly obscene bunch of genetically-engineered things which live on junk. We don't mean the contents of Lister's fridge, we mean actual junk. Not the sort of folk you'd particularly want to sit down and play cards with, in other words. Which is precisely what Lister goes and does, losing badly and ending up with a bomb attached to his man-parts. The quest to detach said explosive leads to the recovery of an actual living, breathing female human, Professor Edgington. But before any human-race-resurrecting sexy time can happen, she's blown out into the cold void of space. Nice one, guys. Nice one.
Things get worse later on, though. And we don't just mean the revelation that Lister's ex-girlfriend from three million years ago cheated on him with a particularly twatty colleague at work. No, we're talking about an attack on Red Dwarf by a small army of rogue simulants bent on massacring them. Unbelievably, the Dwarfers get the upper hand thanks to the tactical prowess of Arnold J. Rimmer, who – discovering that his real dad was a humble and idiotic gardener – actually overcomes his lifelong sense of shame and failure, kicking simulant butt. Well, in the words of a certain Scouser, a working class hero is something to be.